Over my career as an educator and mentor, I’ve had the opportunity to refine my beliefs and develop a teaching philosophy that is reflective of my experiences. I believe the purpose of education is to allow all people, regardless of identity and/or circumstance to have access to knowledge. There are four components that drive my teaching philosophy: diverse, authentic, experiential, and inspirational.
Diverse – My diverse background and experiences have provided me with opportunities to reach students in a variety of ways. Working with local, indigenous, and international students encourages me to not only welcome their perspectives, but also provide diverse and equitable learning experiences. I am inclusive in my teaching by encouraging students from a variety of backgrounds, abilities, and experiences to enhance my courses with their expertise. I also believe that students learn best when they have access to a variety of pedagogical methods and are engaged in a variety of ways. I lecture, facilitate discussions, and allow my students to lecture and facilitate discussions, while also providing a variety of hands-on experiences. My teaching style encourages students to take ownership of their own learning, following practices of project-based learning. This style allows all learners to be welcomed into my learning environment.
Authentic – I strive to create authentic learning opportunities. I believe that students learn best when they are able to work through real-life scenarios. For example, my graduate digital media students work with real world clients to develop working prototypes. I provide practical hard and soft skills and understandings that can be used in their own practice. By providing authentic learning for my students they are able to develop transferable skills, including: communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration, especially when working with industry professionals. I communicate clearly, logically and effectively through these practices, especially as I often work with international students.
Inspirational – When I teach, it is my chance to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for leadership and learning. I develop confidence and understanding for my students and they are able to further my understanding and knowledge. As a teacher of digital media and technology, I inspire enthusiastic integration, while maintaining a high level of critical thought through collaborative agile processes. I develop a strong rapport with my students through active listening, humour, support, and actions that improve the learning environment. I am very passionate about education and want my students to become passionate as well. I encourage them to become designers of their own education. I give students an opportunity to share their pre-existing knowledge and beliefs while also a chance to improve their practices and become professionals. I am extremely supportive of my students in any need, including academic and social support.
Experiential – I believe that students learn best when they get hands-on experiences. Hands-on experiences can include small or large group discussions, creating or producing something through prototyping (i.e., app development), and teaching other students a variety of skills or ideas. I know that my students highly value the hands-on experiences. My lessons are often interactive (and often with digital media resources). I am a hands-on instructor who is available to my students, providing consistent feedback (both oral and written) to push my students to the next level.
I acknowledge that I am consistently learning the best practices of an effective educator. Ongoing assessment of my teaching style refines my practice. As I interact with students and colleagues, I continue to adapt and refine my practice to become a more effective educator, which is grounded in my passion for teaching and learning.